In the world of competing digitally with the dot-coms and big-box retailers, you have to think outside of the box on ways to drive consumers to your store. Consumers are looking for an experience when they shop and they often start the process digitally. So for this article, I have decided to list some ways that I have either seen, thought of, or heard of when it comes to some great consumer-driving activities.
Pet Caricature Portrait Day
People love their pets and they love having pictures of them. A caricature is a great and unusual variation of a picture that most people don’t already have. How do you find a local caricature artist? I would take to Craigslist under services.
You would work a deal with the artist to either split the fee or at least collect a portion of it, and, of course, you will also want to throw in an in-store offer to incent the customer to buy or come back.
Get involved with local charities and help support them by donating a portion of your proceeds to their cause. This is a great way to build awareness of your store, as well as give back to something good. Keep in mind that the charity does not always have to be pet related.
Local Home Shows
Home shows are fantastic for meeting a large number of people in a short amount of time. You will want to make sure that you have something to give away with your store information on it, so the consumer remembers you.
A good suggestion would be some doggy doo bags. They are cheap and will last for a long time. There are many promotional sites online that you could choose from.
Use Your Sidewalks
If you have a sidewalk immediately in front of your store, use it to place a rack or two of merchandise out there. Make sure it is something interesting, like toys, so that people are intrigued to come look.
Outside racks are also great for capturing people’s eyes, thus building awareness. Use balloons to draw more attention.
Host a Pet Parade and Contest
This is a great way to build awareness for your store, since the press loves these types of stories. You would host the parade and then give awards out after. Ask for a couple of your patrons to judge, which enhances your relationship with them.
Have fun with it and be sure to give out gift cards to your store as prizes. Don’t forget to also contact the local press.
Host a Dog Walk
Just like a 5k, hold it in a local park, and send the proceeds to a local shelter.
Shop Local Guide
Group together with some other local independent stores in your area and put this guide together. Shopping local is a mantra that we are starting to hear more and more about. Banding together as local independent stores and advertising the benefits of shopping local will only help.
Attend your local farmers market in a booth, because it supports the shop local point above. The farmer’s market shopper typically likes to support local businesses and this will allow you to hyper-target that type of consumer.
Low-Cost Vaccination Clinics
Offering vaccinations is a great way to try to lure in those consumers that may be shopping at big boxes or in grocery stores. If you have a loss leader brand, now would be the time to advertise your price on that brand versus the big box to show the consumer that you are competitively priced.
At a minimum, you should have two events going on in your store each month. If you can handle one every weekend, that is ideal. Be sure to advertise on your website, social media, mobile marketing, email or any other way possible. Your events will only be successful if you drive people to them. Once you have a customer in your store, service and experience is what will bring them back.